To Fight The Good Fight The Battle — страница 3

  • Просмотров 753
  • Скачиваний 6
  • Размер файла 32
    Кб

American sections of the city. Desegregating the schools would destroy the quality of their children’s education. So, maintaining the quality of Pasadena’s public education for their children was one of their primary concerns. However, they also demanded that rising taxes be stopped. This group consistently voted against local bond measures for the schools out of a fear that it would cause a tax increase. Often times these two goals conflicted. By stopping forced busing they claimed that the district would save millions of dollars a year, thus fulfilling both of their concerns by insuring the quality of the schools and avoiding a tax hike.A diverse group of Pasadenans made up this moderate camp. Many of them were parents of school age children, lots of whom would be part of

the white flight when integration became the goal of the school board. These families, if they could afford to, left Pasadena for the surrounding communities of La Canada and San Marino or they sent their children to one of the areas many private institutions. A large number of Pasadenans fell into this group and therefore they were the people who both progressives and fundamentalists tried to bring into their camps throughout the post-Brown v. Board of Education era.Fundamentalists and progressives were not new to the Pasadena school district. For decades public school politics in Pasadena had been suffering from a “yo-yo” effect. Each time progressives gained control they would throw out fundamentalist programs and policies. And each time fundamentalists gained control they

would do the same to progressive policies.11 However, as the threat of forced integration grew over the decade preceding the 1970s so did the power of fundamentalists.The Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 had very little direct impact upon Pasadena because the African American population was relatively small. However, the population began to increase steadily in the 1960s and 1970s and the implications of Brown took on new proportions for Pasadenans. By the early 1960s, major desegregation decisions began placing the burden of integration upon local school boards. Nonetheless, the board in Pasadena continued to ignore the issue of desegregation.12In lieu of making substantial progress towards desegregation, the school district poured millions of dollars in aid into

compensatory education programs in predominantly black schools. Through these programs they hoped to appease state and federal agencies. Continually throughout the 1960s educationally conservative board members attempted to skirt visible integration within the schools. Aside from compensatory educational programs, in 1964 the school board announced “Plan IV” which allowed a small number of children from the seven “most segregated” schools to transfer to certain “receiving schools,” provided that they could find their own transportation. Rather than desegregating the schools, “Plan IV” increased segregation in the district. Only 13.1% of students from the “most segregated” schools were white, but 31.1% of the students transferred to the “receiving schools”

were white. Also, studies found that those with higher income levels were the ones who left the predominantly black schools.13 We seem to have a typical story of racist ideals controlling school board policies but through the actions of the fundamentalist board in the 1970s it becomes clear that their agenda was much more complicated than simply maintaining segregation and white dominance.The easy victory of the fundamentalists slate of LuVerne LaMotte, Steve Salisian, and Joseph Engholm in March of 1965 using slogans such as, “Neighborhood Schools are in Danger!” demonstrates the growing fear on the part of many white Pasadenans that forced busing, an end to neighborhood schools and increased federal control was looming on their horizon. They were right. Over the next five

years state and federal courts demanded that school districts take steps to desegregate. During that time as well a fundamental shift had taken place on the school board. LaMotte and Engholm had, during their tenure, moved from the fundamentalist camp to the progressive. Consistently during their first years in office they voted against any motions that would desegregate the schools.14 However, as they became more familiar with the school system and more concerned with the quality of education they shifted to an integrationist stance. After visiting the schools, both Engholm and LaMotte noted the marked difference in the predominantly African American schools and the principally white schools. Schools with a majority of African Americans were overcrowded and understaffed. The